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TREKKIES

Directed by Roger Nygard (1997, Paramount Pictures)
Starring Denise Crosby, Trek cast members, and Trek fans

Documenting and exposing the lengths to which Star Trek fans will go to express their unique form of fandom.

 

 

2 stars+

July 21st, 2002 on TV

 
   

A mixed bag, both in terms of quality, and of content.

By far, the best parts about this show were the interviews with the cast members. If we had spent the whole two hours with them, I would have been happy. Whether we were talking with classic Trek crew like Nichelle Nicols, who had the awesome and heard-before story about Whoopie Goldberg, or DeForest Kelley with the woman who said he turned her on, or James Doohan with the story about the suicidal woman, they were terrific. From the Next Generation cast members, Brent Spiner was the best. He was hilarious -I wish we could have seen more of him, especially when he was talking about the fan paintings of Data and Tasha- "they got my likeness down very well -but you! They got every detail perfect! Oh- are we taping???". LeVar Berton was terrific, as usual, and Jonathan Frakes was alright, also as usual, but even Wil Wheaton was interesting to listen to!

Mostly, however, this show was about the fans. And these fans could be split into two categories: we have the ones who are just fans, and will not go over the top to prove it. And we have the fans who will do anything to profess their love and devotion to this TV program.

What struck me most was the fact that every one of them took their interviews so seriously. Some of them, like the dentist who turned his practice into a Starfleet-themed room (what's R2D2 doing there?), knew that what they were doing was unusual, and that it was a bit strange, and had bemused looks when showing Denise Crosby (the host) around. But so many of them were completely unapologetic.

Several of these big fans compared what they do to the devotion of sports fans, who wear the team jerseys in public. At least those people are sporting a fashion that shows their support for real-life people, doing real-life things. People who wear jerseys -or full football uniforms- in public will also get strange stares! The proper equivalent is to wear a T-shirt with the Starfleet logo or image on it, not a full dress uniform. I say this as someone who used to wear my Han Solo vest and Luke Skywalker jacket to high school all the time!

But the seriousness of the attitudes contrasts with the tone of the movie, which is incredulous. I think we are supposed to be shocked by what we see, while those being interviewed do not appear to want to shock us. They have a keen interest, which would normally become diffused after childhood, but which for them did not. They have clubs, like every other hobby. They go to trade shows, and get carried away by the merchandise there, as is the will of the vendors. I know how easy it is to get carried away. But I don't understand the urge to collect all sorts of mint packages, no matter how valuable. I have always played with my toys, while trying to keep them in "good" condition.

I myself am like one of the fans featured, the one who had a couple of boxes of stuff. I don't have any Trek merchandise, but I have two boxes of Star Wars figures and toys, and another box of paper items, several posters, and magazines. And, of course, a couple of dozen of the books. But I don't parade around in my Star Wars clothing (which are too small, anyway), and I don't flaunt it. I don't apologize, but I don't flaunt it.

Being a cat lover, my favorite scene consisted of Bones the cat, in whose memory this film is dedicated. He was dressed in his own medical uniform, with his own medical tricorder! It was so cute, and he seemed to let his owner do anything to him! Ha!

But I think some people, especially adults, do take this show too seriously. Yes, it has a good message, but I think we can live by the message without going so far as to walk and talk like the TV characters. Why not build our lives around the message. We don't need the physical reminders of a made-up society to show us the way. This applies not only to Trek, but other TV shows, as well.

As for the production of the film, it was also hit-and-miss. Some of it was obviously high-quality, most noticeably the Kate Mulgrew interview. Although I don't like her, I don't like Janeway, and I didn't like the interview, the quality of the film was just like the Voyager TV show. At other parts, however, like in the Nemesis meeting, so many of the shots were blurry, or started out of focus, only to go too far to defocus in the other direction, finally settling on a proper focus. At other times, the camera would not stop moving, which was annoying. Still, enough of the film was nicely done, and it was edited fantastically.

I wonder why Denise Crosby was the one to helm this film, when she had such a minor part as a Trek character. Not that I'm complaining -she did a great job, at times looking completely shocked, and at others going with the flow. Her reactions looked completely genuine.

This film ended up being about what I expected. It was a little long, in showing how far the most fanatical fans will go, and focused too much on the uninteresting "whitewater juror" and "Nemesis teen". The convention shots were fun, it was nice to see so many DS9 fans (the Bajoran vedeks and the Sisko-look-alike were great), and the comedy skits that run with the ending credits were hilarious. Worth seeing? Don't pay for it. It's certainly good for a laugh, because no matter how fanatical I thought I was about Star Wars or Star Trek, just a tiny glimpse of this film will show that I am not even in the same class as these people, and would never even dream of taking this show that seriously. It isn't that great a show, that I would devote my life to it. I love some episodes, and have seen every single Trek episode, but on the whole, it is simply "good".

 
   

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